Patients who are unable to have their correct legal status recorded in a Midland’s trust electronic patient record are at risk of being illegally detained, according to its board papers.

In South Staffordshire and Shropshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust’s February board papers, it says there is a “risk to patient safety and illegal detention through non-compliance with MHA [Mental Health Act]”.

“This is due to a number of outstanding actions in the functioning and development of the Rio system meaning that MHA documentation is not being retained.”

If community treatment order recalls and section information cannot be entered, there is the “risk of patient not being treated in accordance with legal requirements”, the papers said.

South Staffordshire is a mental health trust that use a Servelec’s RiO EPR.

A spokeswoman for the trust said “safe patient care is always a priority for our Trust so, although our clinical system (RiO) does not currently allow for full monitoring of MHA status, we have a comprehensive and consistent manual system in place which is checked by clinicians and monitored by our MHA administration team, to ensure effective and safe patient care”.

Mitigating actions include writing the legal status on ward board, checking by phone and confirming on other clinical systems.

There are 14 patients whose records do not show their correct legal status currently.

In a statement to Digital Health News, Pete Kendal, the trust’s IMT associate director of IMT, said:  “There are a number of priorities for RiO amendment and the configuration of MHA is one of the highest; my team is working closely with our clinical colleagues to review amendments and make changes.”

A spokeswoman for Servelec said that the company “works closely with all our customers to ensure our products meet statutory and legislative requirements”.

She added that “we can confirm there are no issues with the RiO product”, and reiterated it was an issue with the trust’s usage of the system.

Specific problems include community treatment order recalls and section 117s being unable to be entered. A S117 is where some people who have been kept in hospital under the MHA can get free help and support after they leave the trust.

The risk had been downgraded since the October board papers, because progress had been made developing the appropriate forms in RiO.

Digital Health News understands that South Staffordshire is one of the 11 mental health, community and combined trusts to apply to become digital exemplars.

Six are expected to be selected and will receive £5 million each.

Servelec’s RiO is used in other mental health trusts across the country including Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust and Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.